Letter: Compare New and Old Plans Before Approving Wind Deal for State Pier

in Letters

I enjoyed reading Cate Hewitt’s Feb. 8 interview with Alexandra Halvordson, “Halvordson Weighs in on Addition of Offshore Wind to Region’s Submarine Supply Chain,” and appreciate CT Examiner’s continued coverage of State Pier and the Thames River.  Having known Ali since elementary school, I respect how smart and hardworking she is.

I am writing to publicly challenge something she said:

“You have offshore wind coming, you have two ports in Connecticut that are going to be maxed out with wind, that’s great, how is that not good stuff?”

Maxing out State Pier with wind may be good stuff for the Naval and Maritime Consortium and its members.  It may be good for EB, Eversource, Orsted, and Gateway.  It may be good for helping CT meet urgent greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Maxing out State Pier with wind will not be good for everyone displaced and excluded from State Pier- potentially for close to two decades — the commercial fishermen, the farmers, the forestry community, the businesses shipping road salt, lumber, steel, copper, aggregate, or scrap metal.  It also won’t be good for municipalities and other purchasers of raw materials who will see prices increase due to lack of competition and increased distance from point of import.  Nor will a wind-only port allow State Pier to act in its ability to reduce road wear and congestion on I-95 by moving freight off the road and onto the water and rails.

The 2017 Statewide Freight Plan put out by the CTDOT at great expense was supposed to have a 25-year scope. CPA should have accommodated the prudent, common sense “Port Investment Strategies” from Page 3-6 of this report to temper the risk of incipient opportunities like offshore wind.

The carelessness and bad judgement of the CT Port Authority was exposed by audits, FOI requests, and dogged newspaper reporting.  I hope no one forgets that same bad judgement produced the State Pier for Exclusive Wind Use Plan.  On Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Hartford the CPA Board will vote to approve or deny the plan.

Before the vote, southeast Connecticut legislators and residents should look at page 30 of 2015 Milone & MacBroom report on State Pier to see how a diverse, multi-use facility could be “better stuff.”

Kevin Blacker
Noank